By Gavin Gibbon
Imitation is the best form of flattery, except when it comes to food. Shimmers serves up the real deal when it comes to Greek food - a perfect way to conclude your day of business
Recreating cuisines from other countries in this cosmopolitan city we live in can often be more miss than hit, with the word ‘authentic’ thrown about more than ever – authentic American burgers; authentic Buffalo wings; authentic Chicken tikka masala; and authentic Italian pizzas, complete with pineapple sacrilege.
So much so that the authenticity of the word authentic is a question to ask before any dining experience.
And so when we visited Shimmers in the Mina A’Salam, it was with a certain amount of trepidation as I prepared for an evening of authentic Greek food. The last time I had authentic Greek food was on my wedding day in Santorini, so no pressure.
Let’s say Shimmers was up to the challenge. And not just the food. The location is one of the best in Dubai. Winding your way around the paths in the Jumeirah complex leads you to the restaurant on the shore of the Arabian Gulf and in the shadow of the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab.
The sounds of the sea certainly conjured up images of the Mediterranean, and the light décor whispered Greece.
But with the greatest of respect, with a huge appetite at the end of a long day, we weren’t there for the views or the décor, however impressive they were.
This was all about the food and proceedings got underway with the softest of breads drizzled with fresh olive oil and complemented with Kalamata olives.
This was followed by a traditional, colourful Greek salad of strong, salty feta and one of our all-time favourites, a side of tzatziki with warm pitta bread. This light combination prepared us perfectly for the main course.
In the 'must try’ section of the menu is the unmistakeably Greek Moussaka, a rich blend of slow braised beef and lamb ragout, with eggplant, potato and béchamel that doesn’t know whether to leave the plate with your fork or stay further in the dish.
We also opted for the Bekri Meze, which afforded an ever-so-slight kick in its spicy sautéed tender lamb pieces and beef chorizo, with a tomato sauce infused in onion, garlic and capsicum. The French fries were probably too much, but doubled as an ideal option to soak up every last piece of sauce.
The Wild Greek Seabass Fillet was also tempting, with orzo pasta, oregano, tomato, olives, olive oil, and kefalograviera cheese.
And so with just enough room for dessert, and on the recommendation of our waitress Andrea – who was informative and friendly throughout the evening without being too ‘in your face’ - I made the tough choice and selected the orange crème brûlée, casting aside the baklava cheesecake tarts and loukoumades.
It proved a good decision, with the fresh strawberry – mint salad complementing the powerful flavours of orange crème brule.
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Mina A’Salam, Shimmers is Greek and as authentic as it gets in Dubai.
Jumeirah.com; 04 432 3232